Jeep’s global boss says the soon-to-launch Renegade small SUV is not risking the brand’s hard-earned reputation for producing tough and rugged vehicles.
The Jeep Renegade is set to launch in Australia later this year and will become the smallest offering from the American brand. It will sit in the ever-expanding subcompact SUV segment currently occupied by the likes of Holden Trax, Ford EcoSport, Peugeot 2008 and the incoming Honda HR-V.
Speaking with Australian media at the Detroit motor show today, Jeep CEO and president Mike Manley said the introduction of the Renegade poses “no risk” to the Jeep brand.
“I think it’s a massive positive for the Jeep brand,” Manly said. “Everybody will have their own view on styling, whether they think it’s rough or rugged, what I can tell you is that the vehicle is certainly rough and rugged and fits in with Jeep DNA, so from that perspective it fits into the family perfectly.
“From a size point of view, it’s the fastest-growing SUV segment in the world. It’s still small in some segments … but the growth rate is massive so it's important for us to be in that segment. People talk about it as a gateway for younger customers to come into your brand. Whether that’s true or not true the fact is that literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles will be registered in that size and we want our portion of it”.
The Renegade’s soft-roader character is in contrast to Jeep’s usual designs and in some ways a step in a different direction. The baby Jeep is based on a Fiat 500L platform and will be built in Italy for our market.
Although dubbed a 'soft-roader', Jeep will indeed offer 4x4 versions as well as a Trailhawk model, making it the only 4x4 SUV in its segment with proper off-roading credentials.
Prices and specifications for our market are yet to be confirmed, however we suspect pricing will start in the low- to mid-$20,000s for the front-wheel-drive models and reach into the low $30,000s for the top-spec Trailhawk 4x4.